Visiting Maui's Scenic Upcountry Area

Upcountry Maui Things To Do

When you hear the term ‘Upcountry’ on Maui, its the local way of describing the communities that reside on the slopes of Haleakala, which include Kula, Pukalani, Makawao, and parts of Haiku. Not to be confused with Northshore Maui, which is Paia, Huelo, and other parts of Haiku, 

Upcountry Maui is a quieter area, far from the resorts of Wailea, Kihei, or Kapalua. It offers locals a quiet, rural place to call home and offers tourists  agricultural, residential or rural, there are amazing experiences to enjoy in this area of the island. What are some of the top things to do in Upcountry Maui? 

1. Visit Haleakala National Park for a Sunrise or Sunset

Haleakala Upcountry Maui

Haleakala National Park spans more than 30,000 acres in the eastern section of Upcountry Maui and is recognized for its diverse wildlife and landscapes. The landscape includes the Haleakala volcano as well as Oheo Gulch, Kipahulu Valley and others.

At the top of the volcano, you will be at 10,000 feet above sea level, making this the best spot on the island for enjoying sunrises and sunsets. The drive to the top of the volcano from Haleakala Highway takes almost two hours, but the reward is well worth the trip with excellent views along the way and at the top. Reservations are required for sunrise and sunset experiences due to popularity. Here you will also find many of the best hikes on Maui.

2. Hike the Makawao Forest Reserve

Upcountry Maui Hikes

Located southeast of Makawao off of Highway 394, Makawao Forest Preserve covers more than 2,000 acres and offers two hiking trails. These trails take you through a dense forest with towering trees, and eucalyptus and ferns lining the paths.

The 5.7-mile Kahakapao Loop Trail is the more popular of the two trails. Most of the trail is at an elevation close to 3,000 feet with several steep elevation changes, so the air is usually cool and comfortable. The Waihou Spring Trail is less frequented and provides a quieter hiking experience. This trail features a 30-foot rock wall with accessible tunnels and the trailhead leading to the beautiful Waihou Springs.

Makawao Forest is also home to the best mountain biking on Maui with variety of advanced downhill terrain and even a terrain park at the base. 

3. Sample the Product at Mahalo Aleworks

Mahalo Aleworks is one of Maui's very best breweries that sits at an elevation of 1,900 on the side of Haleakala. The ambiance has a low-key vibe with exposed beams in the ceiling, industrial finishes and both picnic tables and bar seating. With tall windows, you can appreciate excellent views while enjoying food and beer.

Food comes from Upcountry Sausage Co. and includes street tacos, smash burgers, sausages and other items. Beer options are updated frequently, giving you a reason to return often. Wine, Kombucha, root beer, juice and other non-alcoholic beverages are also available.

Upcountry Maui Homes For Sale

4. Grab A Great Pizza at Marlow

Marlow grew from a home-based pizza delivery and pickup service during the pandemic to one of Upcountry Maui’s most treasured restaurants sitting right next to Mahalo Aleworks. The decor is decidedly modern with a relaxed yet high-end ambiance.

The signature dishes are wood-fired, sourdough pizzas topped with a variety of fresh ingredients. In addition to red and white pies, Marlow also offers steak, seafood, salads and a range of delicious appetizers. Wine, beer and cocktails are also available to enjoy with your meal.

5. Saturday Morning Farmer's Market in Pukalani

The Upcountry Farmers Market in Pukalani offers a wonderful way to start your Saturday off on the right foot. With the high elevation, you can enjoy expansive views and fresh air while shopping for locally sourced food and treats.

The specific options vary, but some of the more popular options available include fresh fish, coconuts, Lilikoi butter, coffee, macadamia nuts, vegan foods, tropical flowers and other items.

6. Tee It Up at the Pukalani Golf Course

Pukalani Golf Course

Located on Pukalani Street in Makawao, the Pukalani Country Club is home to a par-72 golf course. This golf course covers 6,962 and includes ravines, pine trees, palm trees, tropical flowers and well-manicured greens. Sitting at the base of Haleakala, this public golf course was designed by Bob Baldock and includes amenities like a restaurant and a pro shop. It's also one of the most affordable rounds you'll find on the island. 

7. Sunset Picnic at Poli Poli State Park

Poli Poli State Park is a gorgeous destination located only a few miles from Kula on the side of Haleakala, and it is part of the Kula Forest Reserve. The landscape includes pines, ferns and seasonal strawberries that visitors are invited to pick.

One of the well-maintained hiking trails is the Redwood Trail, which is recognized for its towering trees. From the picnic area, you can take in views that stretch for miles, making this the ideal place to enjoy a sunset picnic on the island.

8. Enjoy Coffee and Breakfast at Grandma's Coffee House

Grandma’s Coffee House is located in Kula just off the Kula Highway, and it provides you with the perfect way to start mornings in Upcountry Maui. This family-owned establishment closes at 2 p.m., and it is recognized for its fresh-roasted, locally-sourced coffee.

This low-key cafe has an expansive breakfast menu with granola bowls, pancakes, lox and bagels, pancakes, waffles and numerous egg dishes. For lunch, enjoy a burger, grilled mahi mahi, pulled pork and a variety of salads and other types of sandwiches.

9. Have a Sensory Experience at Kula Lavender Farm

As you continue exploring things to do in Upcountry Maui, a visit to Kula Lavender Farm is a “must.” Your senses will be heightened by numerous fragrant species of lavender, which spring various shades of purple flowers with peacefully green leaves and stems.

With 45 sprawling acres of flower fields along with a gift shop filled with fragrant products, your time at Kula Lavender Farm will be memorable. Check the operational areas and blooming season before your visit.

10. Maui Pineapple Tour

Haliimaile Farm is a working pineapple that ships its produce far and wide, and you can tour the farm when visiting Upcountry Maui. The 1.5-hour tour takes you through the fields where you learn about pineapple cultivation techniques and the plant’s growing cycle. Samples are provided during the tour, and all tours include a free, fresh pineapple per person.

Review the farm’s calendar for specific tour times before your visit. This is across the street from the new Hoku'ula subdivision. 

11. Ocean Vodka Distillery

At Ocean Vodka Distillery in Kula, you can enjoy a tasting of organic vodkas produced on-site with ingredients sourced from the 80-acre sugar cane farm. The distillery uses an innovative process with modern equipment. Its location in the heart of the island provides stunning views from east to west for you to enjoy during your tasting. The distillery uses organic ingredients and locally sourced water. The distillery offers live music daily. Reservations are encouraged.

12. Downhill The Skyline Trail From the Top of Haleakala

Skyline Trail Maui

If you're looking to get the adrenaline going and have some experience on a mountain bike, the Skyline Trail is one of the wildest rides out there. Rent a bike from Krank Cycles and have someone drop you off at the top of Haleakala at the trailhead near the observatory. From there, its all downhill. Well, sort of.

The trail is very rocky and loose at the top and is recommended for upper intermediate to experts only. Once you're through the hard part you get a cruise through the upper Kula Forest Reserve which is pretty magical. Talk to the folks at Krank Cycles and they will get you hooked up.

13. Boutique Browsing in Makawao Town

In Makawao, you can stroll through the eclectic yet historic city streets in the heart of Upcountry Maui. Here, you will find numerous eateries and boutiques. The shops include a market, a family bakery, an herb shop, an art gallery and others. This area is also recognized for its Hawaiian cowboys and its annual Fourth of July festival.

14. Winery Experience at Maui Wine in Ulupalakua

If you enjoy sampling wines surrounded by a lush, vibrant landscape, a visit to Maui Wine in Ulupalakua is in order. This vineyard and winery venue is conveniently located just off Pilani Highway and is recognized for its fruity dessert wines. These wines are made from raspberries, grapes and pineapples. Pupu, cocktails and flights are available. Bottles of wine can also be purchased at the onsite shop and online. Reservations are recommended.

15. Yoga at Managala Yoga

Mangala Yoga offers the ultimate relaxation experience with a variety of classes influenced by Ganesha, a Hindu diety. Ganesha means “the remover of obstacles,” which is apt for this studio. It strives to be a starting point for new students to start their yoga journey and for more advanced practitioners to delve deeper on their individual paths.

Numerous heated, non-heated and fitness classes are available throughout the week, and the schedule is posted online. Check out their schedule here.

16. Spa Day at Ho'omana Spa

At Ho’omana Spa in Makawao, you can pamper yourself with a variety of authentic Hawaiian streatments and services. This award-winning day spa focus on mental, spiritual and physical health in a calming environment. Services include the standard or signature Lomi Lomi massage, the Lomi Lomi deep tissue massage, the Lomi ‘ili ‘ili hot stone massage, Hawaiian back walking, a variety of spa rituals and others.

17. Visit Kula Country Farms

Kula Country Farms

Kula Country Farms is the place to go in Upcountry Maui for fresh produce and a relaxing shopping experience. The market often features pineapples, strawberries, flowers, herbs, asparagus, onions, blueberries and seasonal pumpkins.

Vendors also sell freshly baked goods, jams and honey. The year-round market offers children’s and family activities, including farm events, farm animals and a children’s garden. Don't miss their pumpkin patch in the fall, it might be my wife's favorite day of the year!

Come to Upcountry Maui To See a Rural Paradise

Upcountry Things to Do

Regardless of what your vision of an ideal day on the island is, you can find an incredible variety of things to do in Upcountry Maui!

Get In Touch!

Evan Harlow Maui

Evan Harlow is a Realtor on Maui who has the expertise, experience, and work ethic to help you achieve all of your real estate buying or selling goals. We promise exceptional service and support from the beginning of the process through closing and beyond.

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Posted by Evan Harlow R(S) 82003 on

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